The Australia Council’s funding policies: bigger is better

Over at his blog, Marcus Westbury has done some careful analysis of the way the Australia Council slices up its funding pie.

It’s confirmation of a long-running trend towards the preferential funding of large performin arts organisations over … well … everything else:

The Australia Council's 2009-10 funding, by artform category. Large performing arts organisations are favoured over the other artforms supported by the Australia Council. Source: Marcus Westbury, using Australia Council data

As Marcus writes:

As you can see there is still massive discrepancy between the amounts of money that go into the major performing arts and how much goes intoeverything else combined.

My favourite little factoid: Opera Australia last year received more funding from the Australia Council than all the applicants for all 6 of the Australia Council’s major artform boards combined.  Opera Australia alone received $18.3 million. By contrast the Australia Council’s entire competitive funds for literature ($4.2m), music ($3.6m), theatre ($2.5m), dance ($1.8m) visual arts ($4.8m) and inter-arts or cross artform projects ($0.8m) combined totaled just $17.6 million. That’s one opera company receiving more than seven hundred and eighty one separate projects, organisations and individuals competitively funded across all those forms.

And the new media funding that is apparently all the rage if you believe the scare campaigns? Opera Australia’s budget could power the the “inter-arts” office for the next 23 years — there’s a pretty good chance new media will be heritage itself by then. Even if you add in the $386,000 from the positive but spread-rather-thinly “Arts in the digital era strategy” that figure reduces to about 16 years.

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One thought on “The Australia Council’s funding policies: bigger is better

  1. Pingback: In response to Kathy Keele « A Cultural Policy Blog

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